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MaxxSouth Broadband vs. Peacock TV vs. Sparklight Television plan comparison


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Researched by
Kathryn CasnaSenior Staff Writer
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Reviewed by
Updated 4/10/23

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MaxxSouth Broadband
Staff rating
2.7
Customer rating
5.0
(1)

  • Plans starting at $14.99
  • 55 channels
PeacockTV
Staff rating
3.6

  • n/a channels
Sparklight
Staff rating
2.3
Customer rating
4.0
(1)

  • Plans starting at $35.00
  • 100+ channels
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MaxxSouth Broadband
Staff rating
2.7

Lackluster TV plans might still be your best option

MaxxSouth charges a lot per channel and doesn’t deliver a ton of features. Still, there are few hidden costs and no contracts, so this provider might be your best option. And we like its unique local sports channels and internet service.

What we like

  • Few hidden costs
  • Local sports channels
  • No contracts
What we dislike

  • High cost per channel
  • Mediocre customer service
  • Minimal DVR storage
Savings tip: MaxxSouth Broadband often has
sign-up promotions
for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
PeacockTV
Staff rating
3.6

Peacock TV is a great supplemental service but doesn’t replace live TV

Home to greats like The Office, Parks & Rec, Real Housewives, and Law & Order, Peacock has some great content at a price we loved. But our hands-on testing revealed that its channel lineup was disappointing and couldn’t fully replace a more expensive live TV streaming service like Fubo or YouTube TV.

What we like

  • Great shows
  • Delightful interface
  • Low price
What we dislike

  • No DVR
  • Mostly runs on "live" channels
  • No NBC, MSNBC, or CNBC
Savings tip: Peacock TV often has
sign-up promotions
for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Sparklight
Staff rating
2.3

Cord-cutting done wrong

You can get your minimalist, cord-cutting groove on with Sparklight’s no-frills plans, but you’ll pay for the privilege. You’re probably better off with a simple HD antenna, a live TV streaming service, or a traditional cable TV company.

What we like

  • No contract
  • Decent channel lineup
  • Low equipment rental costs
What we dislike

  • Expensive, with hidden costs
  • Light on features
  • High startup and breakup costs
Savings tip: Sparklight often has
sign-up promotions
for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
MaxxSouth Broadband
Content
3.0
Incredible local sports options round out an otherwise mediocre channel lineup

Depending on what you like to watch, MaxxSouth’s channels are a mixed bag. Most households will find enough family and entertainment channels, but news is a little lacking. And for being a local company, MaxxSouth’s local content isn’t great. That is, except for its local sports coverage, which is a homerun.

Local: 2/5
MaxxSouth has the top four local channels covered (NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX), plus PBS and The CW, but after that things go, well, south. You’ll miss out on Cozi, Comet, and all the local Spanish-language stations. If local channels are important to you, consider going with another provider or picking them up on an HD antenna for free.

Sports: 3/5
MaxxSouth’s national sports offerings are a mixed bag. You get a little over half of the best sport channels, including ESPN1 and 2, TNT, TBS, Fox Sports, and the Golf Channel, and you can also add the NFL Channel and NFL Red Zone for an additional monthly fee. But where this provider shines is local sports. MaxxSouth has its own regional sports network where you can see everything from high school games to community college events in HD quality. You could watch your kid hit a home run from your living room—and get a DVD of it for around $20 to relive their glory as a family later.

Family and education: 3/5
If you’re looking for family-friendly content, MaxxSouth gets the job done with the Discovery Channel, two Disney channels, Nickelodeon, Animal Planet, and National Geographic. But you’ll miss out on Nat Geo Wild, additional Nickelodeon channels, and the Smithsonian channel.

News and politics: 2.5/5
MaxxSouth’s news options are probably fine for most people. You get the basics like CNN, C-SPAN, BBC America, Fox news, and all three NBCs (NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC). But you’ll miss out on Newsmax, The Weather Channel, and in-depth financial news coverage.

Entertainment and lifestyle: 3/5
MaxxSouth delivers a decent entertainment lineup with favorites like Bravo, Lifetime, FX, and the three T’s—TBS, TLC, and TNT. You’ll also get some of the best lifestyle shows with HGTV, Food Network, and the Travel Channel. But you won’t get Magnolia, either Ion channel, the Cooking Channel, or Grit.

Local news, sports, and entertainment channels vary based on your location. Check out
MaxxSouth Broadband channel offerings
in your area.
View plans
PeacockTV
Content
3.5
Great live sports, on-demand movies, and day-old NBC shows—but its channel lineup is lacking

Peacock TV is different from other streaming services because it focuses on only NBC content. NBC has a little something for everyone though, so we were able to rate all five content categories. But instead of basing our ratings on the channels Peacock offers, we focused on the shows themselves.

If you’ve had cable TV or another live TV streaming service like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, or fubo, you might see Peacock’s channel lineup and snort out loud. And you’d be totally within your rights. Most of Peacock’s “live” TV channels just play reruns of specific shows all day and night. You can’t control which episode you watch or when you start one, nor are you getting brand new content. It’s kind of the worst of both the live TV and on-demand worlds.

Our advice? Get Peacock TV for the sports, day-old NBC shows, and movies—not for the channels.

Local: 2/5
If you spring for the $10 per month subscription, you’ll get your local NBC channel. Otherwise, you won’t. If you live in Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, South Florida, Boston, or Los Angeles, you’re in luck. You’ll get a local NBC news channel. If you live elsewhere, you won’t get any content local to you.

Sports: 4/5
Peacock Premium and Peacock Premium Plus have some great sports content too. You’ll get a bit of everything, from soccer to golf to cycling to NASCAR to Sunday Night Football—all live or on-demand, depending on when you log in to watch. You also get the Olympics, of course, but these won’t be live. So if you like to stay up til three in the morning to watch your favorite curling team sweep their hearts out, consider this your permission to sleep in and catch all the bonspiels (that’s curling-speak for games) during normal waking hours. Oh, and if classic WWF matches are your jam (wait, is that just us?), Peacock has a channel that plays them 24/7/365.

Family and education: 3.5/5
Peacock has some great family-friendly movies and finding them is super easy. Create a kids profile, and it’ll be packed with Dreamworks movies like Turbo, Shrek, and Shark Tale alongside shows like Blippi, Strawberry Shortcake, and Trolls: The Beat Goes On. Plus, you can dress to the nines in your living room and join the Gentleminions movement without besmirching your polite theater-goer reputation.

News and politics: 2.5/5
Peacock has some strong news content in addition to its six local news channels. You’ll get a 24/7 Dateline channel, Today All Day, Sky News, and LX News. If you’re looking to get a sample of headlines and stories, it’s great. But all news programs are created by NBC, so you may not get the variety of perspectives you’re looking for. We like to see Peacock as a supplemental way to get news coverage, we prefer to get our news elsewhere.

Entertainment and lifestyle: 5/5
NBC has some award-winning shows, both new and old. From The Office, 30 Rock, and Parks & Rec to Blacklist, all the Saturday Night Live, and Real Housewives, there’s some great content to watch on Peacock. If you work your way through all the episodes of these shows before you’re done binge-watching (though we’d be surprised if you did), you can pick from classics like Dennis the Menace, reruns of Jimmy Fallon, and more.

Local news, sports, and entertainment channels vary based on your location. Check out
Peacock TV channel offerings
in your area.
View plans
Sparklight
Content
3.5
Good news coverage but needs more sports channels

Sparklight has a decent channel lineup, and people who love watching the news or enjoying a wildlife documentary with the family will get most of what they want. Unfortunately, sports content is lacking, and so is Spanish-language content.

Local: 3.5/5
Sparklight does a good job of delivering local channels for most viewers, but it doesn’t provide any Spanish-language locals. So you’ll get ABC, The CW, NBC, PBS, CBS, FOX, and more, but don’t expect Telemundo, Univision, or Estrella.

Sports: 2.5/5
Sparklight brings you a variety of sports staples like both ESPNs, Fox Sports 1, TBS, TNT, and USA. You’ll get a couple of sport-specific channels like Golf and Motor Trend, but you’ll have to do without MLB, NBA TV, and NFL Network. And since you won’t have Spanish-language channels, you’ll be missing some great international soccer coverage too.

Family and education: 3.5/5
Sparklight has something for the entire family, but there are a few odd choices in its lineup. Most providers offer at least one Nickelodeon channel, and Sparklight doesn’t. Instead, you’ll get both National Geographic channels, which is also uncommon. You’ll get most everything else you expect, like Disney, History, Discovery, Animal Planet, and Cartoon Network, but be ready to go without the Science and Smithsonian channels.

News and politics: 4/5
Sparklight has better news coverage than a lot of TV providers—at least, for English speakers. You’ll get lots of local news, CNN, Fox News, HLN, MSNBC, CNBC, C-SPAN, BBC America, and even the Weather Channel. However, you’ll miss out on Newsmax and any Spanish-language news sources.

Entertainment and lifestyle: 3/5
Sparklight has less variety than we’d like in its entertainment lineup. Your life will have fewer laughs and less music than you’re used to because it's missing Comedy Central, Laff, CMT, MTV, and VH1. You’ll have plenty of feel-good movies from all three Hallmark channels, Lifetime, OWN, and Oxygen, as well as action and westerns from FX, FXX, Grit, and INSP. And enjoy great tastes from both HGTV and the Food Network, but not the Cooking Channel.

Local news, sports, and entertainment channels vary based on your location. Check out
Sparklight channel offerings
in your area.
View plans
MaxxSouth Broadband
Value
3.0
High prices and mediocre channel lineups could still be your best option due to low competition

While MaxxSouth’s internet service offers a ton of value, its TV service is way less impressive. It offers two plans: Basic has just 20+ channels, and you can get most of them for free with an HD antenna. An expanded plan gives you 100+ channels, which is also lower than mid-level plans from other providers. There is no top-tier plan, but you can add premium and sports channels for an additional cost.

Overall, MaxxSouth is expensive for what you get. While the channel lineups are average at best, you pay $1.50–$1.75 each, which is way higher than most companies. Unfortunately, most Mississippians don’t have a lot of other providers to choose from, so MaxxSouth might still be your best bet. The good news is that there are few hidden fees and no contracts to worry about.

Get the best value by speaking directly with a sales rep at 1-844-719-0032 or check your address at
MaxxSouth Broadband's website.
Check address
PeacockTV
Value
4.0
Great shows, movies, and sports—but don’t pin all your live TV streaming hopes on it

Peacock is a great deal, and it’s one of the cheapest TV streaming apps. Peacock gives you access to arguably some of the greatest shows on TV, solid news coverage, and a great sports lineup—especially international sports.

It’s a ton of value, but we recommend considering it an addition to a more complete live streaming option like Sling or Hulu + Live TV—especially since Peacock doesn’t give you access to NBC/Universal’s live stations, like CNBC, MSNBC, or, well, NBC. That means you can’t watch live episodes of The Voice with your friends. Instead, you can get them on Peacock the next day—after your co-workers passive-aggressively feed you spoilers. Womp-womp.

Peacock TV has three versions. The free version is kind of like a teaser for the paid versions. You get to watch a few new shows and a bunch of channels packed with syndicated reruns, all while drooling over all the shows you’d get if you coughed up the cash for the paid version. The next step up, Peacock Premium, is a great buy at $5 per month. You get all the content Peacock has to offer, and the commercials were surprisingly low-key.

Finally, the premium tier is Peacock Premium Plus. It’s twice the price and, in our opinion, rarely worth the cost. You get the same content with fewer commercials and the ability to download shows to watch offline (but no ability to DVR live content). It’s pretty meh.

Get the best value by speaking directly with a sales rep or check your address at
Peacock TV's website.
Check address
Sparklight
Value
2.0
Now that's some expensive cord cutting!

Sparklight sounds like a company for cord-cutters—people who don’t want a traditional cable TV service at traditional cable TV prices. But when it comes down to it, you probably won’t save with Sparklight. If you want the same level of entertainment as a traditional cable company, you’ll pay more for it. If you want a minimal, no-frills plan, you’d be better off with a live TV streaming service like Sling or fuboTV.

Sparklight has just two plan levels. Economy Cable is barebones, giving you just 20 channels, while Standard Cable gives you 100—around what most competitors’ low-tier plans deliver. Unfortunately, you’ll pay mid-tier prices for low-tier service with Sparklight. While Sparklight has a decent (albeit short) channel lineup, many of the top-tier sports channels, like NFL Network and NFL Red Zone, are add-ons—at an additional cost.

Get the best value by speaking directly with a sales rep at 1-877-687-1332 or check your address at
Sparklight's website.
Check address
MaxxSouth Broadband
Equipment and features
2.5
Limited TV Everywhere and DVR features leave you with tough choices about what to watch

MaxxSouth has decent equipment, but it's a little light in the features department. While you can improve some of the experience by spending more per month, you'll still be limited by MaxxSouth's minimalist approach.

Ability to watch: Fine
MaxxSouth uses decent equipment at a decent price. Renting a TV box will cost you just $6 per month, but you’ll also have to rent a remote for $7.99 per month, which brings gear costs inline with competitors.

Like many TV services, MaxxSouth has a TV Everywhere feature that lets you watch your shows on your phone, tablet, or laptop when you’re not at home. However, it’s not an app. Instead, you have to use a browser to go to the MaxxSouth website and click around to find what you want or download each programmer’s app onto your device. The upside is you can do this with over 80 apps, from A&E to Vice. The bad news is, that’s a quick way to max out your phone’s storage, so you’ll have to pick your favorites and skip the rest.

Ability to record: Good
With MaxxSouth, you get a solid amount of storage included in your plan—90 hours. You can get up to 500 hours, but you’ll have to purchase them for $5 per month for every additional 50 hours. You’d spend more than $40 to max that out. Yikes!

If you rely on your trusty DVR to catch a lot of shows simultaneously, you’ll be disappointed. With MaxxSouth, you can record only one show at a time, so you’ll be forced to choose a favorite during primetime.

Ability to find: Fine
Finding shows you want to watch is harder than it should be. MaxxSouth doesn’t have a voice remote, so you’ll have to dig through the channel guide, on-demand library, and your DVR recordings manually. Parental controls are fairly customizable and easy to set up, but you’ll have to create—and remember—a second pin if you want to block purchases.

Features and equipment may vary based on package. Visit
MaxxSouth Broadband's website
or call 1-844-719-0032 for more information.
PeacockTV
Usability and features
4.0
Easy parental controls and delightful details, but no DVR

Peacock makes watching and finding content a wonderful experience. You can’t DVR anything, but with so much on-demand content, we didn’t feel much need to anyway.

Ability to watch: Great
Peacock delivers a solid watching experience in both its app and browser versions. Something Peacock TV does really well is let you jump between devices in the middle of watching a show. It easily picked up where we left off when we switched from a computer to the phone app to TV and back again, whether we were watching live or on-demand content. For some streaming services, (we’re looking at you, Sling TV) switching devices mid-stream can get glitchy fast. So well done, Peacock!

In other ways, Peacock wasn’t as easy as some of the other live TV streaming services we tested, especially on our phones. We were bummed that we couldn’t multitask: there was no mini video we could watch while firing off an email or answering a text.

Ability to record: Fine
No matter which Peacock plan you get, you’ll never be able to record live shows. There’s no DVR capability, but we’re not sure you’d need it. Most of the content we wanted to record was available on-demand anyway (except for live sporting events). And if you spring for Peacock Premium Plus (the highest-cost plan), you can download on-demand shows to watch offline later. We’d probably skip the upgrade, though. We liked the idea for long flights or keeping the kiddos entertained at the car wash, but we didn’t find a ton more uses for this pared-back feature.

Ability to find: Great
Peacock makes it pretty easy to find the shows you want. Its interface is intuitive and it easily tracks where you left off, even when switching between devices. Parental controls are also super easy and effective. Just create a kids profile for quick access to only children's shows. You can also set up a PIN to keep the little ones restricted to these kid-friendly profiles. As a bonus, parents’ profiles won’t be bogged down with Curious George or Blippi episodes. (Although we’d probably keep a kids profile around just for all the Dreamworks movies.)

There are a few ways Peacock could improve its usability though. For starters, the app made us browse shows and channels in portrait mode, then flipped us to landscape mode to watch, which was annoying. Additionally, there’s no “back” button on the app, so if you get a few clicks into browsing for on-demand shows, you have to hit the Home button and start all over if you want to back out. (If you’re using a browser, you can hit its back button.)

There’s a “back” button on the live TV side of things, but, oddly, it doesn’t take you back a step. Instead, it brings up the channel guide on the bottom half of the screen while your show keeps playing. We liked being able to browse while catching up on the news, but it was confusing at first.

The only real gripe we had about using Peacock TV on a browser was that a lot of the descriptive text (like the channel guide and show descriptions) disappeared faster than we could read it, which meant we had to keep moving the mouse to get it back. It was a minor annoyance, but we’d love to see this fixed in the future. We’re not all speed readers, Liz Lemon.

Ability to share: Great

You can make up to six profiles on Peacock, which is a decent amount, and making new profiles is super easy. Beyond the basics, Peacock has some fun extras that delighted us. We loved picking profile avatars using headshots of our favorite NBC characters (hello Ron Swanson!).

We also confirmed that you can stream only three devices at once on Peacock. When you try to add the fourth, you’re alerted (by the adorable Puss in Boots from Shrek giving you those big, precious eyes in apology). You don’t have to worry about kicking anyone else off their show—but you can’t choose to either. You’ll have to kick them off the old-fashioned way, with a text, phone call, or shout down the hall.

Sparklight
Equipment and features
2.0
BYO streaming devices, upgrade for the privilege to DVR

Sparklight won’t be winning any awards for equipment and features anytime soon, but you should be able to watch, record, and find your shows just fine.

Ability to watch: Fine
To get started with Sparklight, you’ll need at least $10 for a modem. You’ll also need at least one streaming device like a phone or tablet, smart TV, Apple TV, or Amazon Firestick. Unlike other TV providers, Sparklight leans on its TV Everywhere app to let you stream your shows on the internet instead of over cable or satellite.

Ability to record: Fine
Unfortunately, Sparklight doesn’t come with DVR service either—unless you add TV Plus to your Economy or Standard plan for around $12 per month. If you do cough up the extra cash for this service (which is typically free with other providers), you’ll get a decent 200 hours of cloud storage and the TiVo app.

Ability to find: Good
While Sparklight's TV everywhere app lets you search live, recorded, and on-demand content all at the same time, how you’ll find your shows depends heavily on the streaming device you’re using. You’ll use the remote that comes with that device, so factor that into your choice when buying gear. We recommend using a device with a voice remote for the best experience.

In short, Sparklight doesn’t provide much of an experience, but you can choose your own adventure depending on the devices you use. While it does offer parental controls, you can block content only by rating, not by channel or individual show.

Features and equipment may vary based on package. Visit
Sparklight's website
or call 1-877-687-1332 for more information.
MaxxSouth Broadband
Customer experience
2.5
Patience and persistence will give you the best experience

The MaxxSouth experience is mostly fine, but we’d like to see some improvement. It has live chat, 24/7 phone support, and a decent amount of self-help resources on its website and YouTube channel… if you’re willing to sort through it. We didn’t like that we couldn’t order TV service online like we could with MaxxSouth’s internet service. Customers report that MaxxSouth works hard to resolve any issues—if you’re persistent and contact them multiple times.

Professional installation runs a super-low $20 for most setups, but there’s no self-setup option. That means you’ll have to wait for an appointment before you get up and running. But with such a low cost, we’re happy to white-knuckle it through a TV cleanse for a few days (or carefully plan to cancel our old provider around MaxxSouth’s schedule).

Visit MaxxSouth Broadband's website
or call 1-844-719-0032 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
PeacockTV
Customer experience
3.0
Peacock delivers a great overall experience, but if you need help, it’s hard to find

Peacock’s website is easy to navigate and it’s super easy to see right on the home page exactly how much a subscription will cost you. It also has a well-organized help page, though you’ll have to scroll to the website’s footer to find your way there. You can ask the chat bot for help, but to get more personalized service, you have to sign into your account.

Unfortunately, getting a live person to help isn’t as easy. There’s no phone number displayed, and the “Get in Touch” button just takes you to more self-help articles. To speak with an actual person via chat, you have to click into a help article, then click “No” to answer the question “Was this article helpful," and answer a feedback survey. Ugh.

That said, we had little genuine reason to seek out customer service because everything worked well, checkout was simple and transparent, and it was easy to cancel.

Visit Peacock TV's website
or call for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Sparklight
Customer experience
2.0
High startup costs paired with outage complaints

Getting started with Sparklight is a bit pricey. Professional installation is $90. You can opt for self-setup, but that’ll cost you $30 (free with most providers). But professional installation might be the better choice. If you end up wanting a refund later, a technician will have to come out and attempt a professional installation or troubleshooting anyway. If the problem isn’t Sparklight’s fault (or your home isn’t wired properly), you’ll be out $90 for the visit and you won’t get your refund.

Sparklight relies on a cable-fiber hybrid infrastructure that makes it more reliable than satellite TV providers. However, Reddit is peppered with customers complaining about outages. Sparklight’s TV service uses Wi-Fi internet, which can sometimes slow your binge-watching due to interference from other devices, competing networks, and well, walls. That said, Sparklight promises great Wi-Fi (and a money-back guarantee).

Visit Sparklight's website
or call 1-877-687-1332 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
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MaxxSouth Broadband
5.0
(1)
5 Star
100%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
T
Tajariafrom Baton Rouge , LA
MaxxSouth Broadband Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 9/9/2022
Everything is really good
Peacock TV
0.0
(0)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Sparklight
4.0
(1)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
100%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
J
Jayfrom Grenada, MS
Sparklight Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 8/17/2022
It's been a good value until the price went up
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